walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

try not to say, it's all greek to me

TYKE (Take Your Kids to Europe) makes the (startling to me) claim that Greek is so phonetic, and so many of the food words are decipherable (cognates) that if you learn the Greek alphabet, you can navigate Greek menus fairly successfully.

Now, there are problems with TYKE, but this particular kind of factual inaccuracy isn't one of them. After mulling it over for a while, I check out Transparent's Greek info (was disappointed -- they transliterate everything. Lame.), then googled around for a free tutorial on the Greek alphabet.


A little geeky, but pretty good all around. I had to pull out a pad of paper and write everything down as I went through it to remember it well enough to get through the first couple of practice pages (I have not completed the tutorial), and to do that I found a page that showed the entire alphabet (altho it was missing the sigma at the end of a word form), copied it down and practiced drawing the letters a little first. Now, the tutorial isn't menu/food words BUT does not appear to have cherry picked for cognates (instead, the goal seems to be to get you using the letters as quickly as possible, and also teaching useful phrases like how are you, fine, please, where is the Acropolis, etc.). That said, she's right! It is possible to (laboriously at first) really and truly get the pronunciation right (sound files are included in the tutorial) from just the letters AND there are cognates just _littering_ the ground.

Back to Dutch. At least here, unlike German, little risk of confusion by switching back and forth. But this discovery does really open up the possibilities for language-after-Dutch to learn next.
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